Sometimes I experience dizziness. Do I need to get tested for a vestibular disorder?
Even if your dizziness or vertigo symptoms aren’t serious enough to affect your lifestyle yet, they are likely to worsen over time. We recommend that patients visit our San Francisco vestibular center for balance testing before the symptoms increase, as imbalance can create a scary safety concern. If we are able to pinpoint the cause of your dizziness, treating the underlying condition or managing your symptoms may be easier now than later.
Can I still take medication prior to vestibular testing?
Certain medications may change the finding of the examination. Medication prescribed specially for dizziness should not be taken. A patient is encouraged to follow the provided instructions that prohibit most medications that aren’t considered life-sustaining. If you’re still unsure, contact your prescribing doctor. Do not discontinue medications for blood pressure control, cardiac or circulatory problems, diabetes or other medications for similar medical disorders.
We ask that you don’t eat or drink anything for a period of three hours before the time of the test. On the day of the test, please DO NOT drink any caffeinated beverages, use any tobacco products, or wear makeup or face cream. We ask that you do not take any nonessential medications for a period of 48 hours before your appointment time and that you avoid the following:
- Anti-dizzy pills
- Sleeping pills
- Over-the-counter cold or allergy medication
- Medications which contain any of the above
- Alcoholic beverages
How does the inner ear work?
The inner ear is divided into three main parts. One part, the cochlea, is the hearing organ. The other two parts, the vestibule and the semi-circular canals, play a role in balance maintenance. The vestibule is a dome-shaped area between the cochlea and semi-circular canals. Its primary role is to let you know how much you are moving forward and backward. The semi-circular canals tell you where your head is in space and provides information relative to angular acceleration.
The ear works in conjunction with your vision, muscles, and sense of touch to help you to maintain your balance. Misleading information from any of these areas can cause a patient to be dizzy or unbalanced. Vestibular testing is designed to identify the weakest part or parts of the system so that correction can follow.